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2014 IABC Conference in Toronto delivers industry expertise, cutting edge thinking and unparalleled networking opportunities

July 25, 2014


The 2014 IABC conference in Toronto kicked off with the Circles of Wisdom, a full day program run by IABC Fellows – some of the biggest names in the communication industry. Participants were thrilled with the exposure to learnings from long-time experts, as well as the practical and hands-on workshops covering topics from leadership coaching to communication measurement.


The opening general session provided the excitement of scanning the near future for the next communication trend with Mike Walsh, who introduced a fresh, symbiotic way of looking at the relationships we have with our clients and customers. His opening keynote session on Sunday showed us that shifts in human behavior in relation to emerging technologies must inform our business transformations if we’re to truly serve our stakeholders.


The following morning, before our the various conference tracks sent us off in several different directions, CEOs who appeared on the Canadian version of Undercover Boss and their senior communication officers talked about how their experiences on the front-line positively affected the way their organizations communicate, engage, and operate.


After a morning full of sessions on Leadership, Employee Engagement, Strategic Implementation, Personal Brand, Marketing, and Reputation, John Betts of McDonald’s Canada took the stage to share his transformation story. When McDonald’s Canada made Betts CEO, he harnessed the power of both internal and external communication to lead them out of a record low market share and into one of the most successful companies in Canada.


Monday closed with the glamorous 2014 Excellence Gala sponsored by Towers Watson. Attendees celebrated the outstanding achievements made by professional communicators from around the globe including Gold Quill Award winners, our 2014 Fellows, Chairman’s Award, and Rae Hamlin Award winners. Among a night of drinks, dinner, and dancing, IABC members cheered on their friends on a night they’ll never forget.


On Tuesday morning – in perhaps what may go down in history as one of the most unique and controversial sessions IABC has ever seen – Cindy Gallop made sure that anyone who felt a little groggy from a long Monday was wide awake as soon as she took the stage. Presenting on the future of advertising, her straight-forward, no-holds-barred approach might not have sat well with everyone, but regardless of opinions on gender equity and “adult entertainment”, her session certainly gave reason to think twice about the way business will operate in the future.


Immediately following her popular general session, Gallop took the stage with Lesley Jane Seymour, Shahnaz Taplin, Wilma Matthews, ABC, IABC Fellow, and Kellie Garrett, MC, ABC to revisit IABC’s landmark study The Velvet Ghetto at this year’s Foundation Luncheon. Attendees were treated to a thought-provoking conversation on the advancement of women in the communication industry and what needs to happen before true gender equity is achieved.


Tuesday afternoon’s Annual General Meeting provided an update on the association’s financials and an introduction to the 2014-15 International Executive Board. A full release on this year’s AGM can be found here.


And that brings us to the final day of the 2014 IABC World Conference.


Incoming IEB Chair Russell Grossman, ABC was introduced in front of a packed house for the first of three morning general sessions before turning the stage over to Ezri Carlebach for Rapido – a fast-paced collected of short presentations by 11 global professional communicators. Rapido quickly became a fan favorite and members clamored for it to be a yearly tradition within minutes of the session’s conclusion.


Gregg Lederman followed up Rapido with another fast-paced discussion on Living the Brand, full of anecdotal evidence that companies that offer brilliant customer experiences are the companies that build amazing employee experiences.


To say the conference went out with a bang would be an understatement. Hayley Wickenheiser – star of the Canadian women’s hockey team – stirred the crowd into an excited frenzy with her presentation on communicating under pressure and the expectations of on-demand performance.


Source: IABC